\"May 18,\" depicts how the lives of ordinary people were ruined by the bloodbath that lasted for 10 days from May 18, 1980, at Kwangju, South Korea. Under an operational code-name \"Splendid Holiday,\" some 25,000 special troops were sent to the city to quell a popular uprising which followed a military coup led by Major General Chun Doo-Hwan. The revolt was crushed, leaving more than 200 dead and some 2,400 injured by official count. Activists in Kwangju, now known as Gwangju, say they believe the death toll was much higher. Chun consequently became president but the massacre fuelled pro-democracy protests throughout his tenure, resulting in the restoration of democracy in 1987.